Anyone who ends up at Isala Hospital in Meppel or Zwolle with a broken wrist no longer gets normal plaster on the wrist, but wood. Not just any piece of wood, of course, but some kind of leather made of wood.
Every day Isala throws away two containers full of gypsum waste. This is not biodegradable. Not good for nature. So plaster masters Elsko Vegter and Sjoerd de Jong went looking for a replacement. They ended up with wood from Finland.
It is about biodegradable thermoplastic pressed wood. After being placed on the hotplate for a while, it is ready to use.
name on it
You can still sign this ‘plaster,’ says Sjoerd de Jong. So it’s just a slightly different type of plaster, but with the same treatment time for a fracture as a regular plaster.
Usually, patients in the emergency department are given a splint if a wrist fracture occurs. This is a heavy metal plaster that remains open on one side until the wrist bulges. After about a week, the cast is put in the trash and replaced in the plaster room for a lighter polyester plaster. This plaster eventually ends up in the trash.
The plaster that Isala is now testing is made of poplar wood. “This is growing very fast and the company in Finland has its own forests for this,” says De Jong. “This plastering method is used quite often in Scandinavia and also in Germany and Switzerland. We in the Netherlands are one of the few hospitals that have gained experience in this field.”
He still sees colleagues in the emergency department still need to gain some skill in wearing “leather,” he said. At the moment, Isala is conducting an experiment. De Jong sees it resonating with patients. “Especially if they hear the story behind it and that we’re doing it to reduce the waste stream.”
Ideas actually exist when they are fully successful. “For leg and foot fractures, larger ‘skins’ are needed, but we want to practice more on this first.” The new material is available in all sorts of colors, but Isala doesn’t have that option yet.
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